Care Homes vs. Assisted Living

Care homes vs. assisted living

If you have an elderly loved one in need of extra assistance with their day-to-day life, you may wonder which is the right option for them: a care home or assisted living.

Both can be fantastic options for someone who may not be in a position to live at home. But, how do you know which is right for your loved one? In this article, we will explore exactly that, and help you find the answer to which may be more appropriate for your loved one.

What is assisted living and how does it differ from a care home?

When it comes to a care home vs assisted living, there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there is likely an option that will better suit your loved one.

Assisted living is a type of accommodation, also known as extra care housing, which is exclusive to residents usually over the age of 55. Residents live in a private flat or apartment as part of a larger complex, with their own living room, kitchen, bathroom and other living facilities. In addition to this, there are on-site staff who will assist with day-to-day living, which might include:

  • Getting washed and dressed
  • Help with medication
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Shopping and cooking
  • Socialising

Generally, those who choose to live in an assisted living facility will still have a certain amount of their independence and do not require regular care, but the option is there for when they do. There are also alarms that residents can pull in the event of an emergency.

A residential care home provides more regular care, usually offered by a larger team of dedicated professionals. Residents will usually have a private room (or share with one other resident) and access to a private bathroom, with meal times and social events taking place in communal areas. 

The pros and cons of care homes vs. assisted living

Pros and cons of a care home


  • 24/7 care
  • A home from home
  • Day-to-day assistance
  • Social and recreational opportunities
  • Independence is encouraged
  • Three nutritious meals freshly cooked per day
  • Safety and security
  • Respite for caregivers


  • Potential for temporary upset and disorientation
  • An initial settling-in period
  • It can sometimes be costly
  • It may be upsetting for loved ones

Pros and cons of assisted living


  • Fully retained independence
  • Experienced staff available throughout the day
  • Opportunities for social events
  • Personalised care
  • Emergency alarm


  • Limited medical care
  • Fewer members of staff
  • One-on-one care is limited
  • Potential for isolation
  • Limited availability
  • Not appropriate if regular care is required
  • Can be a tricky transition
  • Still requires relatives to be on hand

Cost differences between assisted living and a care home

The average cost of both a care home and assisted living accommodation is approximately £1,000 per week.

With a care home, this cost includes everything from one-on-one, personalised care to freshly cooked food. There can sometimes be additional costs involved, such as hairdressing and day trips.

With assisted living, there is usually an annual service charge of around £2,000, however depending on the services offered this can be much higher. In many assisted living facilities, residents will also have to buy and cook their own meals.

Services provided in assisted living vs. care homes 

The care services provided by a care home are usually very different from the services offered by an assisted living facility.

Assisted living

  • Access to 24/7 assistance
  • General living assistance such as helping residents get washed and dressed
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Domestic chores such as shopping
  • Assistance with medication

Care home

  • Around-the-clock dedicated care
  • Assistance with general living
  • Medication assistance
  • Medical care
  • Three freshly-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals a day
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Grooming, including haircutting
  • Social events and activities
  • Coordinated activities and social events
  • Safety and security
  • Peace of mind for you
  • Memory care
  • Palliative or end-of-life care if necessary

Factors to consider when choosing between care homes and assisted living

Choosing the right facility for your loved one can be tough. When faced with the decision, consider the following questions:

  • Do they need 24/7 care?
  • Do they still have much of their independence?
  • Do they have medical needs?
  • What are their preferences?
  • Can they prepare their own food?
  • What is your loved one’s budget?

Who would benefit from assisted living?

Assisted living can be a great way for elderly loved ones to retain their independence while living in their own space, but offers peace of mind for you that help is right there when they need it.

Who would benefit from a care home?

Your loved one would benefit from a care home if they have cognitive decline or other medical needs, and require regular care throughout the day which means they do not have the same level of independence that they once had.

Enquire today 

Now you know more about care home vs assisted living, you can start looking into providing your loved one with the care they need.

At Ashberry Care Homes, we provide affordable service across our network of care homes in the UK. To find out more, contact a member of our team today.

Published On: 27 February 2024 | By |